Improving patient care with rapid point of care tests

Dr Elisabeth Adams, Managing Director of Aquarius Population Health, presented on opportunities for rapid tests in influenza and HPV at international conferences in June.

This has been a busy week for the Aquarius Population Health team. We had two posters at the Society for Medical Decision Making in London (12-15th June), which Elisabeth presented. The posters showcased results from two studies we have done looking at the impact of implementing a rapid near-patient test for influenza and RSV. This was a collaborative project with Enigma Diagnostics and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. Results indicated that a rapid test could improve clinical management of patients with influenza, and could save commissioners money. It also illustrated how a rapid test could prevent unnecessary isolation bed days compared to current practice (presumptive isolation while waiting for results of the standard laboratory test results for influenza).

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Guinea combats Ebola epidemic in its third year: basic epidemiology sheds light on the challenge ahead

On 7 November, the WHO announced that Sierra Leone was officially ‘Ebola-free’. Guinea will not be so lucky.  As of today, it is now a certainty that Guinea’s fight against Ebola will continue into its third year.

This is because of the way the WHO decides that a country is Ebola-free.  The international health body’s policy is to count 42 days – twice the maximum incubation period of the virus – from when the last patient to receive treatment is confirmed either Ebola-negative or safely buried.  There was still one patient being treated for Ebola as of 11 November, and even if that patient were confirmed negative, adding 42 days takes us to 24 December 2015, exactly 2 years since the beginning of the outbreak.

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